James Alison

Artist of the Month November 2017


James exhibited his distinctively intricate ink drawings of birds at the Paris Outsider Art Fair with Outisde In in October 2017. We ask James to answer some questions about his art practice.

When and how did your interest in art develop?

I was drawing at home. I draw at Garvald for years.  I’ve also done some felting. I’ve been drawing in the Puppetry workshop for many years. When I was in the puppetry I drew animals and the Puppets that I made and that we used for shows. I started in the Art studio 2.5 years ago and I t feels good to be in the studio now. I can concentrate on drawing in the studio. It is my art time.

What influences your art?

I like to draw birds and buildings and monsters and also castles. I like art because it helps me become an artist and draw things I want to draw and paint. I do some with colour; to colour in the pictures and put the black line and make them more interesting. The birds were in black and white and I do different patterns for their feathers with the black pen. It helps me show the feathers and the face markings. Then I draw round the bird to give it a nice line.

Which artists, if any, have you drawn inspiration from?

I’ve been to a quite a few art exhibitions myself. I like to look at objects rather than paintings. I like going to the Museum of Scotland the best.  I look at the different things in the museum. I like the objects they have there, I like the shapes and the jewellery; the jewellery is colourful and bright.  I like the masks from Egypt; they are bigger.  I remember The History of Scotland and the Jacobite’s at the Museum of Scotland. I also went to hands on exhibitions where I get to do things. I used to go to the Museum of Childhood a lot too. I liked the dolls and the old toys that I saw and the costumes.  I like costumes. I’ve seen paintings of people and trees, they were good though.  

Do you have a favourite piece? If so, which one and why?

My favourite thing was at the Museum of Scotland, and it was Prince Charlie and the Jacobites.  I liked the uniforms they had and the big badges on their sash and all the tartan. They were shiny and the tartan was colourful.

What do you hope the viewer gets from your work?

I hope they would like it and feel that I was good at it.


What has been the highlight of your artistic career?

That has to be my bird drawings. I am most proud of them.  I think my birds were good going to Paris.  And selling 5 of them.  I feel good and am very happy at selling them.  I am always very proud of my art. The birds of prey were big. And they were beautiful and I learned a bit about the birds drawing them.

Has being part of Outside In been beneficial for you? If so, how?

It has done a lot for me. It has made very proud. And so happy.  I am excited to do more art. 


What is next for you as an artist?

My next plan is I am an international artist at the moment at Garvald.  More pressure and more hard work for me! I would like to do some buildings of New York.  Because I hear the next fair is in New York!!!

View James Alison's Outside In online gallery